Dang – they got me again

August 22, 2009

3 more bee stings.  I am re-thinking my hypothesis that the bees were antsy about the change in the weather last week.  The bees from the same hive stung me today.  When a hive is having queen trouble they get ornery – so it is possible that this is the problem – – their queen may not be living up to expectations.  I need to get back on the horse that threw me and see what is going on inside that hive (hmm, antsy, horse, enough animal metaphors?) – – but the next time I will bring the smoker and wear gloves.  I really don’t like wearing the gloves, I feel very clumsy in them, but obviously this hive, at least at the moment, is too ornery to deal with without them.

A friend, who also keeps bees, recommended putting toothpaste on the stings.  For her it took away the sting and she didn’t have any swelling.  I’m trying it this time, and so far the stings with toothpaste on them are not as swollen.  I have a sting on the side of my middle finger, right hand – and most of that toothpaste was worn off by hanging and taking down laundry – that sting is also the most swollen.  Or, it is possible that there is a 4th sting on that hand, I really kind of lost track when it was all happening.  My son was helping me though – and he’s smarter than his mother and wore gloves.  He put the hive back together by himself because whenever I got near it the bees would start harassing me again – they could smell the sting pheromone left by their sister – another reason that a smoker is helpful, it masks that pheromone.  Live and learn.

All the bee news is not bad.  The front hive is calmer than the back hive, seems to have more bees than the back hive also, and is making some new comb in the honey super (finally!) DSCF6934 

In other news – down by the hives I found a monarch caterpillar oncaterpillars on butterfly weed a milkweed plant, but more impressive (and easier to keep track of) there are 9 monarch caterpillars on the butterfly weed in our flower garden!   caterpillar I hope they stay and make their chrysalises on the plant.  I’ll let you know!



  1. I saw some of these on our plants last night and knew what they were from seeing the pictures on your blog!

  2. Glad you aren’t allergic. 🙂

    • just a tad sensitive – my hand looked like an inflated surgical glove – but no epi pen necessary, so that is good.

      • That’s good! I have to carry an epi-pen for a mushroom allergy. That thing doesn’t look fun haha.

  3. There is a product I have gotten at the co-op and some health food stores called “Sting stop”. It is the best thing I have found to stop the pain.

    • Thanks Gail, I have something comparable – and toothpaste works too – but the pain doesn’t last long, just a few minutes – it’s the swelling and itching that are the problem, and they actually are worse the 2nd day than the first.

  4. i have to wear gloves as i have a hypersensitivity to stings, so just can’t chance it. when i first started keeping them i customarily went and worked with them gloveless and even in shorts, sometimes. but…. while helping another keeper with his bees i took a couple of stings to my legs (even while suited! i was using my knees to help hold frames, dumb!) and those stings got real hot swollen and bruised terrible. i think it was about 10 days till i was back to normal. the next sting i took later, same hyper reaction, so i have to be prudent! i am not minding the rubber handed gloves with the long sleeves. i would rather wear them than have to give up beekeeping someday. i was afraid eventually the sensitivity could escalate to the swelling in the airways type so… i use full gear to do everything!
    your new honey comb is gorgeous! so happy for you! you have really done so well this year with your girls!!

    • My bee gloves aren’t going to hack it – – too tight around my arm, too big around my hand – – I’ll get myself some decent leather gardening gloves I think… but not until the swelling goes down – – my right hand looks inflated.


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